The senate committee on Trade and Investment had during the 2018 budget defense, uncovered a sum of N143m as infraction in Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority’s, NEPZA, 2017 budget.
NEPZA had proposed the sum of N638m for personnel cost in the 2017 budget with a discharge of N45m monthly.
However, the sum of N143m was uncovered as infraction in the 2017 budget.
The Senate committee observed that during the 2018 budget defense by the agency, a sum of N505m had so far been disbursed since January, leaving about N133m in NEPZA’s coffers for the month of December.
A committee member, Senator Nafada Bayero queried the rationale behind the agency’s increase in its allocation of personnel cost from N638m to N710m in the 2018 proposed appropriation bill.
Mr Nafada said: “I was asking that they have a personnel cost of 638 million. And what they have expended to November 2017 is 505m which represents 45m per month.
“And now that we have only one month remaining and they have 133m remaining, what are they going to do with the difference?
“If he is talking about increase, that portion is enough for annual increment and they have only one month. What you need for December is only 45m but what you have now is 133m.
“Not only that, in 2018, you are asking for additional 77m. The 638m is much more than the requirement for personnel by about 90m and you are now asking for an additional 77m.
“That is my question. Mr. Chairman, I think he is trying to skip that one but I have reminded him,” he added.
In his reaction, the Managing Director of the agency, Emmanuel Jime, said he could not tackle the allegations, noting that, he had no explanation to give.
Mr Jime said: “One of the greatest challenges in coming to the senate committee on trade and investment is the challenge of having to come and meet a mathematician in the team. I think quite frankly that sometimes, this really takes us unawares.
“All I can say for now, is from the information that I am receiving, and again that is almost speaking at the off of my head, we have certain calculation that go into arriving at these subheads. I am reminded that we have taxes that we have to pay and pensions.”
“And I am not sure that has been spelt out in those names as they should be but I am not really able to explain this clearly without getting the benefits of further information including myself.
“I am not sure there is anyone on the table here who can actually provide the mathematical explanation to why there is that defence. So, we would need a little more time,” he added.
The committee resolved to reduce the personnel cost of 2018 to N518m and also resolved to take the excess monies to capital votes since the agency is expected to fund its overhead budget with Internally Generated Revenue, IGR.